Silence is not a lesson we should be teaching

As the attention in our country continues to circle around Mental Illness our media has increased their reporting on these issues. This morning my local news, KMOV News 4 Awake Reporter Laura Hettiger provided such a report. In her most excellent talent, she shared the St. Louis County Police Department’s actions to develop a special team; Crisis Intervention Team. This details at least one officer on every shift in St. Louis County is undergoing a special training course directly related to defusing a situation they respond to that involves a person with mental illness.

The C.I.T. program provides direct training for intervention to communicate and talk with a person to get them help. This was actually influenced by the escalation of shootings and such occurring in our area. The officers are trained on how to talk with the person in an attempt to calm them and prevent escalation into a more serious or deadly act of violence. The person is then taken to area hospitals where they can be seen and treated before a determination is made. Truly I think this is a wonderful step in preventing the outbreak of serious crimes as our warmer months begin and the tempers escalate into something much more dangerous. As many advocates & centers are aware, the heat has a very adverse reaction on tempers especially within our own families.

I’ve done a few write ups about mental illness and the direct relation to abuse or violence. There is more and more data being shared about mental health and the correlation with these forms of direct traumatic personal violations. Since I suffer with some of the mental health problems myself; P.T.S.D., Generalized Anxiety, and off and on Depression; I wanted to address this once again. I also personally know a few people who were perfectly fine until traumatic sexual assault or abuse was inflicted and now they suffer with some of these same illnesses, but also a few others have gone into extreme cases where Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Clinical Depression have been diagnosed a few months or even a few years after the attack.

The National Institute of Mental Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention both have studies on this topic abuse and violence directly impact our brain function and the trauma of survivors. The recent attention on mental health has prompted new studies to begin by advocacy organizations as well. I do believe the ongoing attention of our mental health and faulty healthcare system will hopefully provide updated reports to better enhance services within the next few years.

The direct impact of abuse or violence has a high relation to the many diagnosis of mental health prominent in society today. In her report Ms. Hettiger shared alarming numbers of statistics known at this point; 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. This is 20% of our society, which means most of us know someone who is suffering with some form, even a slight form of mental health issue. I’m not saying that all diagnosis are related to abuse; I’m merely pointing out the direct impacts of abuse and violence proven related through various studies today.

One way for me to explain this better is for you to think about our military. Our men and women have to undergo exams for physical and mental health before being accepted into our armed forces. Once determined they meet the guidelines, they are then sent into war zones and will serve anywhere from 3 months to a year or more in constant high alert and life threatening situations. In these battle zones they hear gun fire, watch their team members get blown up by buried bombs; many loosing limbs or even their lives right in front of them. As we are realizing today, more and more of our veterans are coming home with deep emotional trauma resulting in their difficulty settling back in with general society and the ‘norm’ of daily behavior. Many have rage outbreaks because of the flashbacks and nightmares. Many are constantly haunted by the visions of what they endured. This is a concern for all of us, especially those many millions directly related to these incredible soldiers and war heroes. Our society consoles them, we offer friendship, support, any praise we can to let them know we want to help them and give them great honor for the battles they’ve fought to protect our freedom and the rights of humans in other countries; which of course I feel is exactly how we should honor them..

Sadly however, there is one war zone of constant high alertness and life threatening situations which general society hasn’t been so easily acceptable to understanding yet. This is the war zone that exists within our own homes every day. Men, women, and especially children are living in this same intense threat of being harmed, beaten to death, raped, tortured by those who should guide and protect them; those these victims love most in the world become the repeated violator of their personal wellbeing. Our homes become the most dangerous place in the world as relative to our lives.

According to the Children’s Bureau report for FFY 2011; 80.8% of reported cases of child harm violators are the child’s parent or parents. In only 2.1% of the reported cases is it a stranger who has harmed or murdered them. Even more grave is the fact that 78.3% of Child Death is directly related to abuse from a parent; calculating to be 906 DEATHS BY A PARENT for that one year alone. Keep in mind this is reported stats only when it is clearly documented on the death certificate as to the related cause of death. Many of these murders, like with Domestic Violence, are not properly documented. Also to note that 85% of abuses against children and in relationship violence is NEVER reported.

Along with this report and the studies by N.I.M.H. and the C.D.C., we have proof updated as early as two years ago as to the growing severity of abuse and violence within our homes and the extreme emotional trauma as a result of these epidemic crimes. If we are willing as a society, to accept the emotional wounds of our war heroes, veterans, then we must also accept the studies for the extreme trauma of the abuse and violence; supporting those who have survived these battle zones.

Throughout centuries we have ‘TAUGHT’ silence and acceptance to our kids and the victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault. We’ve shamed them and shunned them; blamed them and silenced them because we could not accept our own refusal to help them and place the shame on the perpetrators; most often because it brought shame to the family. Let me ask you this; if we tell our kids they deserved the extreme beating as discipline or that sex between a parent and child is normal, then why is there so much shame and silence placed on the victim? Is this because we cannot accept our own guilt in the acceptance of these actions? Since we as family members and close friends cannot see that our own blindness and our ‘TAUGHT’ acceptance of these actions result in a greater emotional trauma on the victims, then in a sense we have to accept our portion of blame for the growing rate of mental illness related to these crimes in society today.

There are five easy steps we can take to be pro-active in the measure to help ourselves, or a family member or close friend cope and rebuild from the impact of these attacks:

1) Accept the truth of how the acts of physical and sexual abuse against ANYONE at any point in their life impacts their emotional and mental wellbeing; specifically the severe after-affects of these crimes and the cross-wiring of our normal brain functions and emotional responses.

2) Understand how PTSD, Anxiety, Depression directly affect our emotional behaviors. This allows you to pick up on the subtle signs of an action or reaction, which enables you to better help that person through the moment or guide them to resources of counseling or medical care.

3) Always report an act of this type. Encouraging victims to get help or call the police, rather than enforcing silence and acceptance.

4) Ask our healthcare system to provide not just a pill for the primary diagnosis, but to research the root problem and help provide services for healing and rebuilding.

5) Most importantly DO NOT SHAME THE VICTIM!! Do not say or ask inappropriate things in which places blame on the victim. These acts themselves have a long centuries old enforcement of blaming and shame, so its imperative for us NOT to act or react in this manner; but instead show compassion, empathy, understanding of the deep trauma caused and the suffering of the victim.

It is possible for society to help change what has always been TAUGHT in the silence and acceptance of these crimes, which they are indeed crimes. If we encourage those harmed to begin healing by releasing themselves from the burden of secrecy about past acts against them; teaching talking because this is always the first step to recovery from any form of trauma.

Also teach children today that no matter who is harming them, extreme acts of ‘so called’ discipline or any form of sexual contact by an adult, their parent, a sibling , or any uncomfortable touching by another child or adult, is never a secret and is never acceptable. Teach them they are allowed to tell someone; even when the abuser tells them it is a ‘special’ secret or threatens harm against them. The only way we will ever be able to battle against the pedophiles in our society is to be sure it is prosecuted as a crime and that the victims feel encouraged to tell someone rather than be manipulated into secrecy. The secret is what helps hide the pedophiles and beaters in society today. They attend our churches, teach our children, they babysit for us; they are most commonly the parents of these harmed children!!

Empowering society to become involved and better able to be the supportive person needed, we can begin to change our world and the pandemic rates of abuse and violence throughout our families. We do not have to accept these actions any longer. We can learn from the generation of present day society, and the past generations of silent victims, letting their experiences be our teaching guide. This allows us to help rescue and reduce the impact of this trauma by providing early intervention; thus reducing, at least on some level, the continued growth of mental illness in the United States today.

If you or someone you know has just been physically or sexually assaulted:

1) Do not shower or change your clothing, there is crucial evidence on your person.

2) Call 911 or your local emergency response right away. It is necessary to report the attack and have the formal charges brought against your abuser.

3) Go to the hospital and get a physical exam, which may require a Rape Kit. The hospital will document the attack, photograph and provide necessary medical care.

These 3 STEPS are difficult at best, I understand that, but they are necessary to prevent another attack and to allow for the victim to be provided the proper resources and intervention needed to help them recover. Please be a friend and help these homeland war heroes who endure vicious attacks every moment of every day right here in our own country. Thank you

 

©Patricia A. McKnight

Author: ‘My Justice’

Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

Advocate/Speaker/Talk Radio Prod & Host/Survivor

http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/butterflydreamsabuserecovery

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62

Twitter/Google+/Linkedin/Tumblr/Pinterest

 

 

 

Published by @Trecia_Ann

Recently, Facebook locked and removed my decade long creation of work and public profile, which focused my work as an advocate, speaker, mentor, and creator of more than a few programs used throughout Illinois, but also shared nationally and some have reached international platforms. So.... let's start fresh and see where it goes! Please see the writings on this blog dating back into 2011, created after the publication of 'My Justice'. There are two specifically, which have been tagged and shared by many....."Judging Eyes" and "Triggers; what they are and how to handle them" I am a survivor of over thirty years trapped inside the silence and brutality of Family Facilitated Violence, Torture, and Child Sex Trafficking. In Feb. 2011, I chose to publish the secrets and the horrors endured; the many levels of destruction and decay which the community around me witnessed, ignored, condemned and blamed regardless of the injuries and tortures endured. It all became the learned patterns of self-hatred and tolerance which was a huge factor in my adult life. Have you endured childhood harm, or endured terroristic types of abuses? Did you feel unworthy of life, breathing, love or respect? Did you feel as if no one ever really saw you, heard you, or seemed to care about the silent cruelties of your existence? It wasn't until I honestly began a strong focus on healing myself, which took years of researching credible data and published research surrounding the lasting effects of abuse, violence, sexual harm, and human trafficking that I began to understand who I was and why there were many traits and tragedies that influenced my adult choices, relationships, the chaos deep in my soul and the behaviors used to survive. It seemed to control everything inside me and it was filled with pain, and tragedy. The research became my rebuilding journey and my road to advocacy, creating legislative changes, sitting as an active member and providing testimony in the creation of area task force operations, victim/survivor services, trauma informed awareness for law enforcement, educators, social services, healthcare and community providers. I began that research of understanding myself in 2008, wrote the memoir "My Justice' in 2010, began working to change statutes in my home state in 2013, became a Certified DV Advocate and Panel Member of DV Offender Education Program in 2015, which then initiated a decade long career as a trusted, confidential advocate, and a highly skilled and knowledgeable speaker/educator on the topic of Assessment, Family/Survivor Rebuilding, Trauma Informed Care & Response, with the primary focus on family/relationship acts of terroristic abuses and/or human trafficking. Beginning in January 2010 there have been developed programs and connected resources for men, women, children, and families who endured these same types of tragedies. Unfortunately, our human society still has barriers to seek help or speak openly about these types of tragedies, especially if it happened in our homes and families. The laws to protect from such harms were enacted for children in 1963, as an amendment to the Social Security Act. Domestic Violence was not a topic until 1995, when then Senator Joe Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act, which has since been adapted to provide shelters, counseling, protection orders, and rebuilding services for ALL persons regardless of gender or identity. Although slavery was brought to an end by the historical act of President Abraham Lincoln, we unfortunately have millions of human beings still being traded, sold, controlled and trapped in a hellish evil, which often begins by a parent or intimate partner. Legislation didn't arise regarding the term 'Human Trafficking' until the turn of the new millennium. Protection for victims of human trafficking was signed into law as the 'Trafficking In Persons Act of 2000', which with modern day social media it quickly became a new hot-topic point, which then sparked the creation of Trauma Informed Care, Rebuilding & Trauma Therapy, and thus adult survivors began speaking out about the dark terrifying reality of Child Sex Trafficking. Today many use the term, Modern Day Slavery, and we have multi-faceted task force operations and rescue resources working around the globe to end this new form of human slavery. We also have a few hundred thousand or more who are adult survivors of histories involving Parental Child Sex Trafficking. In one recent study from 2018, they found 85% of these victims were trafficked by parents in trade for drugs, family needs, or basic human survival. As I look back on the career that grew from my own personal need to understand the chaos in my head, the constant failed relationships and almost murderous acts committed against me; as I deal with increasing health problems that includes multiples of head and spinal cord traumas; the most important goal for me from day one of this extremely personal experience; the healing and rebuilding of my own children and grandchildren who were all continued generational victims of the trauma influenced behaviors and choices that resulted from the destruction enforced by my mother and stepfather many decades ago. The little girl, 'Trecia Ann', she survived pure evil as an entire community witnessed, shamed, blamed, and dismissed the visible decay and rot, stench and filth covered, battered and intoxicated body of a young girl who was publicly exploited and shared in the bars of that small town, in her home with boys she attended school with and adult men from the local coalmine. It was as if they all got a thrill from watching her respond to the ring of that little brass bell. They laughed, molested, raped, and purchased for a few bucks or a few beers the sexual use of that young girl right in full public view! Her mother held the power to stop it all, but rather enjoyed having a 'slave' to cook, clean, care for the family as well as entertain the sadistic alcoholic man she chose to marry. Today, I'm so honored and proud to have that little girl's spirit with me. It is through the use of my lived experience, along with a decade of research, and at least five certifications in prevention, response, and trauma; I've assisted a few hundred survivors through the multilevel process of rebuilding and reclaiming their voice, their safety, their freedom! I've trained law enforcement, healthcare, childrens service investigators, our school educators, and co-presented in trainings with some outstanding experts in the field. For the many I've assisted or empowered, they continue becoming thriving survivors, advocates, authors, speakers, and most important of all; they are healing their children and grandchildren! It is a truly beautiful experience and I am so amazed to have been a spark, a resource, or a friend in their life reclaiming freedom. The adult children of generations past have broken through the glass ceiling and finally there is a hint of change in the world. "A lifetime filled with daily torture, tragedy, and pain creates someone completely different than we should have been. We feel that person inside, but our lives are altered by the emotional and physical suffering. We cover it up and hide it deep inside through substance abuse, which falsely helps us believe we are doing fine. The extreme physical and emotional injuries leave our mental and physical selves terribly impacted. Thankfully there is more information and resources of help available today for all types of adverse or traumatic experiences. We have specialized therapeutic help and healthcare professionals developing new ways to identify and assist persons harmed or at risk of harm. We have so much more to do, so please help by having casual open conversations with your friends, family, coworkers, leaders, and especially our kids. Teach them early how to avoid both online and in person harms. Encourage adults and kids both to use the BDA Buddy Skills 2.0, which you will find through my list of assessments and prevention strategies. "My Justice' was written through my own beginning of acknowledging and releasing the personal destruction of the girl once known as 'Trecia Ann'. It is not an easy read, but it has opened many eyes about the reality of evil that occurs inside our homes, against those too small to protect themselves or understand what's happening. It was published to release the thick layers of trauma, sex trafficking, and disfiguring neglect. It is the voice of the enslaved child who existed only to answer the ring of 'his' bell, and the enforced burden to keep my own private terrorist alive. 'My Justice' is NOT SUGGESTED FOR ANYONE UNDER 16 years of age. It discusses the permanently wounding life and the cycle of destruction that held me in tolerating ridicule, control, and violence in my adult relationships. This truth was published to inspire others to take an in-depth look at their life and behaviors as a result of their past, in hopes they too will better understand their suffering today, the continued relationships with the parents and family who inflicted those harms, and finally breaking free from that pain so they can reclaim their voice and their true sense of freedom! We always have the opportunity to learn that we are worthy, capable, incredibly strong, compassionate, and filled with endless possibilities. It is a choice. It is a conscious decision to dig into our trauma, take ownership of our own failures, the harm our choices have caused, and the work we need to do to change it and succeed for ourselves and our families. It is such an honor to have 'My Justice' used at the collegiate level for psychology classes, upcoming therapists, and educators. Today my life is very blessed. I'm finally safe, feel truly loved, finally feeling the magic of life! Always choose to see your star and how it shines on others in your journey. My greatest power only began to show when I first made the choice to end the violent relationships and behaviors around my children; to give them something better, something SAFE!! In choosing to share my own story, I've also gone the serious extra step to educate myself through years of research, attending training opportunities, and collaborating with other advocate resources focused in human resilience and healing from abuse, sexual harm, and sex trafficking. Today there are experts digging deep to recreate help and healing. I've chosen to use my past as a way to inspire a greater good and; hopefully, somehow change the cycle of tragedy in our homes so that we empower our kids to live a more positive path. The best education we can give is healing our survivors of traumatic experiences so we understand what they felt then and what they wish they would have had available; those who could have and should have said something. We can change things for our life today, but best of all in healing our wounds, we give communities a supportive working strategy in assisting the people in our lives. One step at a time, one caring soul at a time, we can give them a path to changing our human society as a whole. This is a tell-all, which was written in the midst of my third nervous breakdown as I struggled to put all my distorted pieces back together, and help my children understand how the violence I tolerated against me invaded their well-being. My children have always been my world, but my behaviors, lack of healthy parenting and life skills, and an inability to remain stable have caused another generation of suffering for my grandchildren. This is a very difficult thing to watch and the continued tragedies that seem to keep affecting the choices in my family. Writing this book was only the beginning of trying to release all that has haunted me for so many years. I have finally removed his thick, cruel, coal-stained hand which trapped me in fear for decades. Those hands and his evil, her housemaid and caregiver; created a slave, and that slave submitted to horrific and brutal attacks but always felt it was her burden to bear. I lived with that hand holding me down, continually terrorizing and silencing, stealing my voice to protect their pure evil. Throughout decades the dysfunction caused by the chaos inside my head would affect every relationship, my children, and cast a shadow of darkness on everything good in my life. Living in the true spirit of freedom, I have now become a strong advocate against the life cycle of human destruction. If we want to control our life and achievements today, then we cannot live stuck in the tragedy of hardships and pain. Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, to see what you can do and what you can achieve, to find out what is important to you. We all become adults. We all have a burden to bear. Stand up and keep moving, keep living, keep dreaming. You have two choices in recreating and rebuilding yourself. Do you stay stuck in the dark shadows of your past? Do you dig deep and find that spirit that kept you alive so that you can become the proud, strong, capable, resilient, kind human being? Which do you choose and how will that choice affect your children and theirs? We can be supportive, and provide resources and suggest help so that families suffering from addiction or past trauma can find a recovery balance to rebuild their family into a more positive life pattern. We will recover, we will rebuild, we will conquer the pains of yesterday to live in the true sense of life, freedom, and safety today. Patricia 'Trish' McKnight Author: 'My Justice' Fndr/CEO: Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP Mentor/Advocate/Speaker/Survivor

4 thoughts on “Silence is not a lesson we should be teaching

    1. Thanks my friend, it had a lot to do with the news broadcast this morning and the way the silence has decayed my being and the relationships with my children and my siblings. We can no longer ignore the truth, thanks for commenting 🙂 trish

  1. Hi Trish,
    I admire all the work you put into this cause. I’d like to meet up with you sometime and catch up. I haven’t seen you since we were kids. Catch me back on FB and we can figure something out if you’re interested in catching up with an old Freeburgian… lol
    Regards, Jim

    1. Hi Jim, it is so huge to connect with an old Freeburgian 🙂 Please do let’s catch up and thanks so very much for your support. It is truly wonderful to know that many of those I went to school with are hearing this and truly supporting the journey. Thank you and yes let’s do meet up for a chat, trish

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